From 1906 through 1996, Pineland Farms was used as a facility to house mentally handicapped individuals. When it facilities were closed in 1996, the Pineland Farms campus owned over 1,600 acres. The campus was purchased by the Libra Foundation of Portland in 2000 along with an additional 900 acres of land. Over the last fifteen years, the facilities have been expanded to over 5,000 acres of farmland and wooded forest.
Now the campus of Pineland Farms acts as a business park as well as containing a conference center and recreation facility. But what makes Pineland Farms an amazing trail running destination is 18.5 miles of trails. In the fall, the trails are used for local cross-country races.
What Makes It Great
Without a doubt, the best part of Pineland Farms is the 18.5 miles of trails. The trails are mostly wooded and well-maintained. And with 18.5 miles of them, you don’t have to run the same loop day after day, unless you are looking for a daily 18.5 mile run. The terrain of the trails varies as well. Some trails are flat and easy runs while others provide rolling hills. There are some longer and steeper hills that provide a wonderful opportunity for hill training.
But there are a lot of other reasons to love Pineland Farms as well. The campus itself is beautiful, with flowered gardens and well kept lawns. A market on the campus sells local goods, including some local brews, making it a great place to grab a post-run drink or snack. And if you aren’t a local and do not shy away from being a tourist, it is a good place to pick up some Maine-themed souvenirs. There is also a creamery where you can buy fresh cheese. On very clear days, you might catch a glimpse of Mt. Washington in the distance.
Who is Going to Love It
Runners of all kind will find Pineland Farms on their list of go-to destinations. With loops ranging from under one mile to over five miles, anyone can find trails that fit his/her needs. If five miles is not long enough for you, there are plenty of additional smaller loops you can add on to reach the distance you are looking for.
Directions, Parking, & Regulations
Pineland Farms is located only 30 minutes north of Portland in New Gloucester. Take I-295 north to exit 10, turning right onto Bucknam Road before turning onto Route 9 for seven miles. Turn left onto ME-115 for 1.4 miles and continue onto ME-231 for another 4.4 miles. Turn left onto Morse Road and you will arrive at Pineland Farms.
Trailheads are located throughout the campus. You can plan your route beforehand by visiting the Pineland Farms website and downloading the trail map, or you can take a look at the trail map at one of the trailheads and just run the trails closest to where you parked.
The trails are open from dusk to dawn spring through fall. Dogs are not permitted in order to protect visitors as well as the farm animals at Pineland.